Good morning. A week today we’ll be digesting the contents of the budget, which Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, will deliver on Wednesday 3 March. And this morning there is an unwelcome intervention from his predecessor-but-one, Philip Hammond (now Lord Hammond), who has told the BBC the government should now ditch some of its “extravagant” spending promises made during the general election.
In an interview with Laura Kuenssberg, Hammond said that ministers had “made very extravagant commitments to the British electorate in good faith before the coronavirus crisis”. He went on:
Not all of those commitments can now sensibly be delivered on and that’s going to be a big challenge for a government that regards its short-term popularity as very, very important.